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About GameSetWatch

GameSetWatch.com is the alt.video game weblog and sister site of Gamasutra.com. It is dedicated to collecting curious links and media for offbeat and oft-ignored games from consoles old and new, as well as from the digital download, iOS, and indie spaces.

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Archive For July, 2010

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of July 30

July 31, 2010 6:00 PM | Simon Carless

In a plentiful week for new job postings, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles across the world and in every major discipline, including opportunities at Blizzard, Eat Sleep Play and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Crytek: Lead Designer
"Crytek is always looking for the best talent in the industry. If you are passionate about great games and want to work with a highly talented and creative team on cutting edge technology and tools, then look no further."

Eat Sleep Play: Game Programmer
"Eat Sleep Play, Inc. is a game development studio with immediate openings. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, ESP is currently under contract with a major publisher to develop game product for the Playstation 3 game console. The ESP team has an experienced track record of creating hit Playstation titles such as Twisted Metal 1, 2, Black & Head-On, Jetmoto, Warhawk, Critical Depth, Downhill Domination, War of The Monsters, Calling All Cars and most recently Twisted Metal:Head-On for PS2."

Analysis: What Metal Gear Solid 4 Teaches Us About the War Economy

July 31, 2010 12:00 PM |

original-patriots.jpg[Having already examined The Patriots and their clandestine goals of global control in Metal Gear Solid 2:Sons of Liberty, writer Zoran Iovanovici turns his attention to Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (the direct sequel to MGS2) and explores the game in relation to the military-industrial complex and the war economy.]

Far from being eliminated at the conclusion of MGS2, the influence of The Patriots resurfaces as an even greater threat in MGS4 in the form of The System. The System is not simply a term used to define a hypothetical collection of political, social, or economic institutions; it is a tangible cluster of AI (artificial-intelligence) supercomputers developed by The Patriots to oversee and maintain the financial, political, and social stability of the United States from behind the scenes.

At some point between the events of MGS2 and MGS4, The System’s influence became so great that it began to have an impact on politics, technological development, and the global economy.

At the very heart of The System’s dominance is the establishment of the game’s war economy. The war economy in MGS4 is composed of many layers including the PMCs (private military companies) and soldiers that make up the majority of the world’s standing forces along with the laws that regulate and keep the PMCs at center of economic stability. More importantly, The System controls the entire weapons market from production to distribution to actual end-use. This control over the global economy is essentially what gives The System total global control.

Best Of Indie Games: May the Forte Be With You

July 31, 2010 12:00 AM | Tim W.

[Every week, IndieGames.com: The Weblog co-editor Tim W. will be summing up some of the top free-to-download and commercial indie games from the last seven days on his sister 'state of indie' weblog.]

This week on 'Best Of Indie Games', we take a look at some of the top independent PC Flash/downloadable titles released over this last week.

The goodies in this edition include a time-bending platformer similar to Number None's Braid, a new educational game created by the developer of Flotilla, a Sokoban-style puzzler, a 2D puzzle platformer that features a transposer gun, an an excellent arcade game in the same vein as the classic shooter Gravitar.

Here's the highlights from the last seven days:

Game Pick: 'Air Forte' (Blendo Games, commercial indie - demo available)
"Air Forte is a brand new educational game from the creator of Gravity Bone, out now for Windows, Mac, Linux and Xbox 360. Designed with the young of age in mind, the objective in Air Forte is to fly your plane into the numbers, flags or words that meet the requirements of each level."

Game Pick: 'Stream' (Roger Hicks, freeware)
"Stream is a time-bending platformer with some really interesting ideas. Your soldier can place wormholes down, then travel back in time to where the hole was placed, allowing him to then co-operate with past version of himself."

Game Pick: 'Ssshifty' (Glen Forrester, browser)
"Ssshifty is a puzzle platformer created by Radix for submission to the Klik of the Month competition, where players have to collect all fruits in a level while trying to avoid falling off the map. Similar to Polygon Gmen's Transmover, you have a transposer gun that can be used to switch places with any solid object on the screen."

Game Pick: 'Cygnus' (Thunderware Games, freeware)
"Cygnus is an arcade space game that's in the same vein as the classic shooter Gravitar. Fly through simple rooms, chasing down a mysterious red craft and dying many, many times. Your ship can thrust and rotate, but cannot shoot. The action is also accompanied by one of the weirdest soundtracks I've heard in a good while."

Game Pick: 'Connection Road' (D.K, freeware)
"Connection Road is a Sokoban-style puzzler created by Japanese developer D.K and his friends, where the objective is to collect all diamonds in a stage so that you may progress to the next. You start out with pulling or pushing blocks out of the way, but things get a bit more complicated with the introduction of pipes a few levels in."

Blip Festival Tokyo Tickets Now For Sale

July 30, 2010 4:00 PM | Eric Caoili

The organizers for Blip Festival Tokyo, which holds its inaugural show this September 4-5, are now selling tickets to chiptune fans that planning to attend. Of course, you could buy your ticket for the same price at the door, but purchasing one in advance will guarantee your admittance and net you a free drink ticket (value: $6).

Each ticket is priced at $35, and you'll need to buy two if you want to come both nights. That sounds expensive, but just consider all the artists/VJs performing: the venerable Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka (Metroid, Donkey Kong), popular chip group YMCK, Portalenz (USK and Maru), Hally, Nullsleep, Bit Shifter, Raquel Meyers, and many others!

Blip Festival Tokyo has also updated its site with a schedule, so you can plan your nights accordingly. Or if you're unable to attend like me, you can just load the list of performers on the agenda and sigh after reading each line.

AGO Helps To Bring Back Beat'em-Ups With AssKickers

July 30, 2010 2:00 PM | Eric Caoili

The 2D beat'em up seems to be making a comeback, what with games like Ubisoft's Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Wayforward's Batman: The Brave & The Bold, releasing soon. AGO Games, a new independent studio out of France, has another title to add to that list: The Asskickers.

The developer hasn't revealed much media for the PC/Mac game yet, but the details it's shared sounds promising: pencil-drawn 2D sprites and backgrounds animated with frame-by-frame animation, seven levels amd in "the heart of the modern urban jungle", and two-player co-op with collaborative attacks.

As AGO Games describes it, The Asskickers is about "three heroes sharing [their] love for the martial marts defending their innocence and their freedom by kicking asses in a world corrupted by greed and special interests." Naturally, each of those three playable heroes have their own different/complementary fighting styles.

The studio plans to have a fully playable demo for The Asskickers at Gamescom (August 18-20) and invites attendees to visit its booth for a look (H045). Says AGO Games' managing director and owner Stanislas Berton, "If you come across a slender dark-haired fellow with Brezhnev-style eyebrows during the show, well that’s probably me."

The Psychology Of Games: Psychological Reactance and Bioware Games

July 30, 2010 12:00 PM |

morrigan_sqare.jpg[Continuing his regular GameSetWatch column, psychologist and gamer Jamie Madigan looks at the psychological underpinnings of one of Bioware’s trademark RPG elements, defining 'psychological reactance' and pointing out how it's used in titles like Mass Effect.]

Earlier this year I was playing through Bioware’s Dragon Age: Origins and found myself on the twin points of one of the company’s signature dilemmas: with which of the non-player characters should I pursue a romantic interest? Should I woo the crabby but sexy Morrigan or should I court the more pure hearted and worldly Lelliana?

Or hey, maybe I should put the “role play” in “role playing game” and succumb to the roguish (literally) Zevran’s advances? Oh, I can’t commit! Bioware has been presenting me with this same basic choice since Baldur’s Gate (Viconia, before you ask) and I always end up doing the same thing: I string everyone along as far as I can until I’m absolutely forced to make a choice.

So why is this? Why do I invest so much mental and emotional energy into this pointless choice between make-believe people in a video game and why am I so reluctant to commit?

Limbo Re-Created In LittleBigPlanet

July 30, 2010 10:00 AM | Eric Caoili

We've seen people re-create a number of classic video games with LittleBigPlanet's robust content creation tools such as Contra, Tetris, and Gradius, but this awesome production by Bra2008 pays homage IGF 2010 multi-award winner and XBLA Summer of Arcade release Limbo.

In this user-created level, titled "Limbo, Son of the Forest", Bra2008 managed to capture the puzzle platformer's black-and-white silhouette scenes, foreboding scenery, and lonesome tone. This is just the first part of a video series, too -- Bra2008 promises that part 2 is coming soon!

Finally, a way to (sort of) enjoy Playdead's Limbo on your PlayStation 3!

[Via Kotaku]

Cletus Clay Team Seeking Publisher, Considering iPhone Minigame

July 30, 2010 8:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Without much explanation, indie game developer Tuna revealed a few months ago that it was seeking a publisher for its claymation-based action platformer Cletus Clay, revising its plans to just self-publish the game on Xbox Live Arcade.

As the company's head Alex Amsel explains in a recent blog post, this change came about due to "game industry politics":

"The big news is that Cletus Clay is now not going to be on Xbox Live Arcade. At least, we won’t be self-publishing it on the platform because apparently we no longer fit in with Microsoft. Given the current state of Xbox Live Arcade and sales thereon, perhaps they are right!

We have plenty of interest from publishers on both Xbox and PlayStation 3 but at present we prefer to retain our independence. This does, however, mean that Cletus Clay is going to have another development change. Anthony and Alex will continue the project in due course and we will be funding it from our other projects unless one of you happens to be feeling very rich and generous!"

Tuna artist Anthony Flack adds, "We’ve swum this far up a river of shit and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna give up now."

The developer did have some more positive news to share, though, such as the welcoming of fellow indie studio Games Faction (Inkvaders, Project Aftermath) to its office. It also revealed that it's toying with Cletus Clay: Cow Patrol, "an iPhone mod of a Cletus mini game", which the company says it will release if the final product seems fun enough.

Japanese Publisher Dimple Entertainment Closing

July 30, 2010 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili

Tokyo-based publisher Dimple Entertainment, which probably isn't a familiar name to most North American gamers but released some curious titles across the Pacific nonetheless, announced that it will close its operations at the end of August.

Though, as far as I can tell, none of the PS2/DS/PSP products it picked for release ever made it to the States, the company published several games that I'd always hoped would receive English editions, such as Kumatanchi, Vanillaware's DS titles about caring for a bear-girl and all her other animal-people friends at the zoo.

Dimple also put out DS Therapy, software that diagnosed you by comparing questions you've answered to the latest psychological research; and Eigo o Taberu Fushigi na Ikimono Marsh, Microvision's English-trainer/pet-sim starring a creature that literally devours English words.

The publisher is probably best known in Japan for its Pinky Street Kira Kira games, touchscreen-based rhythm action titles for the DS. Kira Kira Pop Princess actually released in Europe and Australia under 505 Games.

Dimple Entertainment's CEO Takashi Kamio has posted a note on the company's site thanking fans for their loyalty and for buying its releases.

[Via Siliconera]

In-Depth: Xbox Live Arcade Sales Analysis, First Half Of 2010

July 30, 2010 12:00 AM | Simon Carless

[Sister site GamerBytes' editor Ryan Langley examines the successes and failures of the past six months of Xbox Live Arcade -- from Toy Soldiers to Darwinia+, as he checks in on Leaderboard statistics over the first half of 2010.]

At the end of 2009, we created a very large list of Leaderboard statistics with over 100 Xbox Live Arcade titles on it. Now that we’re half way through the year we’ve done it again – allowing us to see how both the old and new titles have done in the past six months, according to Xbox Live users who've played games and registered on their high score tables.

This sort of information is crucial for publishers and developers alike -- determining the costs of what is still a very young marketplace is still very difficult, and we've attempted to make it easier for you for nearly two years.

Do note that this does not contain details for all games – titles like Battlefield 1943 and P.B Winterbottom have Leaderboards that we cannot follow, and aren’t included.

We've done our best to check as many old and new titles as possible, in the hope that we can clear some of the dust off of the truths and myths about digital distribution. Here's our full list:

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